I’m not sure if Rocky had a contract with Red Man or what, but I was unable to find a card of his that didn’t feature a big ugly wad of cancer-causing mush distorting his facial features.
It might simply have been part of his tough guy image though. About Rocky, The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book writes, “Bridges looked like a ballplayer. In fact, he may have looked more like a ballplayer than any other ballplayer who ever lived.”
I’m a little suspicious however. The whole image thing seems a little contrived. In psychology circles, there’s a concept called “overcompensation.” It’s basically “a strategy whereby one covers up, consciously or unconsciously, weaknesses, frustrations, desires, feelings of inadequacy or incompetence, [leading] to striving for power, dominance, and self-esteem.” (Psychology Wiki)
Okay, let’s look at the evidence. First, you’ve got the name. You’ve got to admit, “Rocky” does sound a lot tougher than “Everett,” even if it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
And let’s not forget that Bridges was 5’8”. That means middle infield, 16 homers in 2537 plate appearances, and a lifetime slugging percentage of .613.
So, whatever the deep dark motive behind the lump in his cheek, here he is,
, the Man with the Chaw … Rocky Bridges
Very early in his career. The chaw is restrained, he signs his name “Everett Lamar,” there’s no grimacing at the camera. Doesn’t look like Rocky’s quite identified his “brand image” just yet.
Very late in his career. In fact, it’s his last card. He’s definitely looking like the tough, grizzled veteran in this one. In fact, Rocky’s starting to look a lot like the career minor-league manager he would become. Love the smirk!
Not sure why Rocky looks so worried in this one. His gaze seems to be directed at his mini-me over on the left. Should I have my butt down more? Do I look tough enough? What happened to my crotch?
More tough guy, but note the hint of a smile. Aw, he’s just a big puddy tat.
Okay, much better. Here’s the scrappy little bastard we’ve all come to know and love.
Yup, that’s it. Quintessential Rocky. Chaw, mussed-up crewcut (how do you mess up a crewcut?), one eye closed in a kind of pirate look …
* - author has this card
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